16 Sep Quick Intermission For 4 Important Tech Neck Stretches
We quickly interrupt your scrolling for a quick body scan. Are you sitting upright? Tall spine – long neck? Most likely you are slightly slouching over your phone or hunched at your desk, staring at your screen. When you hold this awkward head-forward posture for long periods, you may develop a so-called “tech neck“, where the neck droops forward and down.
Research shows that this slouching posture puts up to an astounding 27 kilos of pressure on the upper cervical spine. That is akin to carrying 12 yoga mats or a small child on your neck.
To prevent this, you can limit your screen time or hold your phone at eye level or incorporate some exercises and stretches into your morning routine to ease the neck pain.
Your yoga practice can help you alleviate any resulting pain or dips in the mood by bringing more balance to the muscles in your chest, upper back, and neck. We’ve gathered four poses to ease your neck pain.
1. Forward Fold With Clasp
- Stand upright with your feet together; if it feels more comfortable, have them slightly apart. Clasp your hands behind your back, if you have tight shoulders, you can hold your wrists or elbows. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and take a big inhale to open your chest.
- On the exhale, soften your knees and slowly fold forward. Letting the head get heavy and drop toward the ground, gently releasing the neck. Don’t push yourself down; just let gravity do its thing.
- If you feel comfortable in this pose, you can bend one knee and then the other, getting more into the shoulders.
- You can also turn your head gently right to left to release the neck.
- Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths, or even longer if it feels nice.
2. Thread The Needle
- Begin on all fours making sure your knees are set directly below your hips, and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line. Centre your head in a neutral position, your eyes looking at the ground and neck long.
- Reach your right arm up to the sky on the inhale and on the exhale, thread your right arm underneath your body to the left-hand side allowing the right shoulder and temple to release to the ground. You can bring the ground closer to you by propping a block or a pillow underneath your head.
- Allow your left hand to stay where it is underneath your shoulder or crawl slightly forward, so it is in line with the crown of your head.
- For an extra-deep neck stretch, turn your head to face the right and look towards the left armpit.
- Close down your eyes and completely relax into the pose. Take deep breaths to slow the breathing down.
- Stay here for 5 to 10 breaths. Then repeat on the other side.
3. Jalandhara Bandha (Throat Lock)
- Kneel or sit on a block to elevate your hips, with hands lightly resting on your thighs.
- Sit tall with the crown of your head reaching to the ceiling, slide your shoulder blades down your back to lift your sternum up towards the sky.
- Gently drop the chin towards your lifted sternum, your chin should be met half-way by the elevated sternum.
- Work on lengthening the back of your neck and releasing your shoulders down.
- The goal is to have your chin and lifted sternum gently touching, never force your chin to your sternum.
- Breathe here for up to 10 deep breaths. Try lengthening the back and sides of your neck with each inhales and dropping shoulders a tiny bit more on each exhale.
4. Camel Pose
- Begin in a high kneeling position with hips over knees. Press your shins and the tops of your feet firmly into the ground.
- Place your palms on your sacrum — fingers facing up or down, whichever feels better for you, lengthen the tailbone down towards the ground. Draw your elbows towards each other creating space across the front of the shoulders.
- Keep your thighs rotating inwards and squeeze your shoulder blades together – like you are squeezing an orange between them – and draw them down.
- Look up and on the inhale, lift your heart towards the sky. Press the front of your thighs back, countering the forward action of your tail.
- You can stay here or slowly release your hands to heels and arch your spine. Be sure not to crunch into your lower back; we are looking for an extension of the spine.
- Experienced yogis can tip their head back to keep the whole spine in extension.
- Stay in Camel for 30 seconds to a minute or even longer. Again, see if you can slow down your breaths.
- To exit, bring your hands onto the front of your hip points. Inhale and lift the head and torso by pushing the hip points down, towards the floor. If your head is back, lead with your heart to come up.
- Rest on your knees or in Child’s Pose for a few breaths afterwards.
Yes, we know, our phones have become a crucial part of our lives. If not addressed, the continued forward head posture and hunched shoulders may worsen over time, which could lead to even more pain and reduced mobility in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. These four counter tech neck stretches act like a mini-break for your tight neck muscles and hunched shoulders. See if you can squeeze one or two of these poses into your busy day. Maybe every time you refill your water glass, pause and stretch. You’ll soon feel the difference they make.
Even better, if you can squeeze in a yoga practice after working on a computer all day or even after the accidental Netflix-binge session. No judgement here happens to the best of us.
Realistically quitting our scrolling habits is not an option. Perhaps a digital detox would be just what you need from time to time. Never considered one? Think about it as the benefits outweigh the withdrawals, we promise.
Can’t stop – won’t stop scrolling the webs? We’ve got you covered on this end as well, don’t you worry. Yogaholics have designed this handy little sequence that you can do on the bus, at the office and even in the movies. How good is that!
See you on the mat, yogis!
Written by Heidi Kristoffer for SHAPE